Post-Saddam Iraq


The Washington Post provides some badly needed reporting on what the Bush administration plans for post-war Iraq. No wimpy power-sharing is envisaged, it is to be a full-on U.S. operation.

Once the shooting stops, a U.S. civilian administrator will take control. Talk about one tough to fill job. Maybe a certain bored ex-president who craves the limelight will apply. He'd certainly get the Baghdad McDonald's up and running in a fortnight.

The rest of the country may take a little longer. Former drug czar and Army general Barry McCaffrey estimates it'll take five years.

NEXT: A Country Is Missing

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  1. Huh? Whitewater was just small-time corruption that happens all the time. Chinagate and Filegate might have approached Watergate territory though.

    Let’s assume there’s going to be a war and it will be over quickly. So, afterwards what happens?

    Worst case scenario: Some Saddam-lite strongman is installed. This will please the corporatists, the “realists” who are only interested in short-term stablity (and have gotten us into this mess in the first place), and the Saudis. And would be a disaster long-term.

    Best case scenario: Iraq is gradually rebuilt as a secular, wealthy democracy of some sort, which makes a nice base for subverting its neighbors in any number of ways.

    I’m hoping for the best case. Instead of “America is the real terrorist state” and “Bush is Hitler” why not direct the energy to pushing for the best case scenario?

  2. Where’s MacArthur when you need em.

  3. Democracy hasn’t worked out OK in Germany and Japan? Do you mean that Japan is not really a Democracy (valid point maybe)? Or am I just not anti-Bush enough to understand the logic?
    Explain how installing a west-friendly democracy in Iraq is so different from the one IMPOSED in Germany (leaving Japan out).

    In watergate some criminals tried to steal information to gain an election. In whitewater some criminals lied about the value of their assets to obtain business loans to try to make money off a land development deal. Honoerable people, all of them! They are all be a bunch of criminals, just different crimes. I don’t recall “a bunch” of right wingers comparing other aspects of the two. I do recall “a bunch” of left wingers claiming the GOP was making baseless whitewater accusations as a revenge for watergate or Iran Contra. I also recall an “unbiased” media composed of 80% Democratic-voting journalists finding the matter far too complicated for their viewers to understand.

  4. Lefty:

    For someone who uses the Left label so prominently, you spend an amazing amount of time defending someone half an inch to the left of center from those half an inch to the right of center–in other words, defending Tweedle Dee against Tweedle Dum.

    One reason there was no strong GOP resistance to the REAL crimes of the Clinton administration (i.e., Janet Reno’s jackbootism, or what the ACLU labelled an unprecedented expansion of electronic surveillance) is that civil liberties issues crossed party lines. For every Bob Barr libertarian warning about the surveillance state and Waco, there was a law’n’order theocrat like Orrin Hatch who wanted to dismantle the Fourth Amendment. And for every ACLU liberal like Wellstone, there was a whore like Chuck “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about” Schumer.

    And in things like the Mena/Contra/crack project, in which Clinton played a leading role, there was too much bipartisan involvement for the GOP to expose its own complicity. Sort of the same reason the Demos went easy on the Enron scandal.

    The wave of the future is things like the NRA-ACLU alliance of convenience against Janet Reno. The constitutionalist militias with Alex Cockburn against the New World Order. As Joe Stromberg pointed out, the far right is starting to discover Gabriel Kolko’s New Left take on state capitalism. At the same time, Cockburn is accused by Morris Dees of being a militia dupe because of his stand on Ruby Ridge/Waco.

    The war will be the libertarians/populists/
    decentralists of both left and right, against the corporate center neocons and NPR liberals.
    Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee are the enemy.

  5. Too many paleo/neo/icono/ists/isms for my taste.

  6. Canada and Australia were ruled by British governors for many years. They became democracies because Britain “imposed” that upon them. Germany and Japan have, of course, already been mentioned (although Japan wasn’t much of a democracy until the 1990s).

    Of course, a better word — in the case of Iraq, Canada, and Australia — would be “allowed”, not “imposed”. It isn’t like the people of Iraq are demanding a return to monarchy or theocracy. When a country is highly unstable (because, for instance, a war was just fought in it) a strong central authority can help speed a return to liberal democracy.

  7. Oh, and Kevin. I’m lefthanded. The handle is just to piss people off. I’ll take any position I want, when I want. Clinton got fucked.

    To the rest of you morons who think the Middle East is like Japan and Germany after WWII, first of all, there has been no WWII. Until now we were undergoing the longest period of relative world “peace” in memory. Terrorist acts have been a fact of life for a hundred years and one of them got incredibly lucky on 9/11. Based on that, we are pre-emptively going into a holy war at the behest of a dry-drunk, born again Christian.

    In Iraq there are at least 23 ex-patriot organizations plus at least 3 very powerful indigenous religious groups with an ax to grind in one hand and the other out for bribes in the other. Japan and Germany sued for peace.

    The Israeli-Arab conflict has been going on for 50 years and now is at a rolling boil. When we plop our fat asses in the middle there will be another 50 years of the rolling boil, at best. You’re nuts if you think this can be settled militarily or by imposing democracy.

    So there.

  8. Lefty:

    You’re welcome to take any position you want–no skin off my nose one way or the other. I just didn’t think defending Clinton sounded very “Left.” Thanks for clearing up the significance of your name.

    Still, I’m having trouble parsing the sentence “To the rest of you morons…” If you mean “the rest of you morons besides Kevin,” that’s fair enough. But if you’re implying that I share the War Party’s “reductio ad hitlerum” about the Middle East, that’s a different matter.

  9. It is just fascinating to see the anti-nation-building stance Bush took when he was needing votes take a full, screeching 180 degree turn. Reminds me of “read my lips”.

  10. Also funny to see all the Klinton-heads suddenly against it.

    hypocracy all around

  11. Does this mean that we can dispense with the neocon excuse that this is about democracy and liberation?

    Democratic revolutions can be inspired, even supported, but not imposed.

  12. Canada and Australia didn’t have squat imposed on them. They created their own institutions there, and fought the British from time to time as well to maintain them. People tend to forget that in the 19th century Canadians fought a bloody war against the British that went on for over a decade.

    As far as Japan and Germany are concerned, people tend to forget that those countries actually had democratic regimes in their past from which to call upon for experience. Also, their populations were very literate, and they had experienced the industrial revolution, and they had diversified, modern economies, etc. Iraq has had one dictator after another, it has never experienced the industrial revolution, its economy has never been diversified or modern, etc. Quite frankly, if you were going to compare two former colonies of Britain to this situation, I would argue that Iraq is much more likely to end up like Jamaica than Canada.

  13. Well, imposing democracy seems to have worked out more or less ok in Germany and Japan.

    If we could turn those lunatic nations around after WWII I think Iraq will be a piece of cake. Iraq is just a run of the mill tinhorn dictatorship – not a loony fascist state. It is secular and has something like an educated middle class.

    Now, do we have the will to do so? I don’t know. Instead of fighting against the war I wish more energy was directed towards fighting for this.

  14. You are kidding. Right?

    Reminds me of when the right wingers were comparing Whitewater to Watergate.

    Well, they both started with a “W”.

  15. Gary, Iraq has a diversified, post-industrial-revolution, modern economy, and a literate, secular population. Things have declined significantly under Saddam, but it isn’t a tribal wasteland like Afghanistan is.

    Also, Japan has never had a full generation of true democracy. Pre WW2 Japan was plagued by coup attempts and infighting, and post-WW2 Japan was governed by a single political party for half a century before power was shared.

  16. Yes, Kevin, that was to the other morons. You and I are OK – usually.

  17. EMAIL:
    DATE: 01/20/2004 11:47:37
    The public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.

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